Thursday, March 15, 2007

things to do for the environment

I got the idea for this from Ben Hutchings.

A. Copy the list below to your own journal and

Bold the actions you are already taking
Underline the actions you plan to start taking
Italicize the actions that don't apply to you

B. Add one (or more) suggested action(s) of your own

C. Leave a comment here, so that she can track the meme to your journal, and copy your suggested action(s) back to my master list.

  1. Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs
  2. Choose energy efficient appliances - I'm documenting the power consumption of my computers
  3. Wash clothes in cold(er) water - Colder than what? I suspect this is based on American machines that are controlled by mixer valves rather than using a thermostat.
  4. Turn the thermostat of your hot water tank down to 50°C (125°F) - this is a good safety measure anyway
  5. Install a programmable thermostat (or turn the heat down over night and when you're out of the house)
  6. Register with the [Canadian Marketing Association's] Do Not Contact Service to reduce the amount of junk mail delivered to your house. - Substitute MPS.
  7. Eat less meat (particularly feedlot beef) - For practical purposes I'm vegetarian, with occasional exceptions.
  8. Walk, bike, carpool or take public transit as often as possible - I'm writing this on the tram
  9. Make sure you know what can be recycled in your area, and try to recycle as much household waste as possible
  10. Compost using an outdoor compost bin or an indoor vermicomposter
  11. Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner
  12. Buy local, organic or fair trade food where possible
  13. Reduce air travel - pity that long-distance trains suck in Australia
  14. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket
  15. Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible - don't own a clothes dryer, hanging up clothes inside near a heater works on cold days
  16. Plant a tree - pity my trees are dying because of the drought / climate change
  17. Buy fresh foods instead of frozen
  18. Keep your car tuned up and your tires inflated to their optimal pressure - also minimise driving. I drive about 5000Km per year.
  19. Use biodegradable dishwashing liquid, laundry soap powder, etc.
  20. Drink tap water (filtered if necessary) rather than buying bottled water - remember the Benzene incident...
  21. Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth
  22. Unplug seldom-used appliances and chargers for phones, cameras, etc., when you're not using them - the power use is small so I only do this for rarely used chargers.
  23. Plug air leeks and drafts around doors and windows with weatherstripping
  24. Switch from disposable to reusable products: food and beverage containers, cups, plates, writing pens, razors, diapers, towels, shopping bags, etc - I've done this for most things, could improve though.
  25. Consider garage sales, Freecycle, eBay, or borrowing from friends/family before buying a new tool or appliance - second-hand and refurbished computers are so powerful and so cheap that you don't need to care about the environment to do this.
  26. Reuse bathwater, maybe to flush the loo, water the garden, etc.
  27. Make sure your roof is well-insulated. - I think it is, but as tenants it's not really our choice.
  28. Always wear a jumper/sweater and socks indoors unless it's warm enough outdoors to go without both.
  29. Run your vehicle on biofuel/sustainable fuels
  30. Set up a grey water barrel to use when clean water isn't necessary - grey water should never be stored. It contains chemicals that are used as food for bacteria.
  31. Put grey water on your garden immediately without storing it.
  32. Install tanks to collect rain-water from your roof for watering the garden, washing your car, etc.


Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with compact fluorescent lights is that they contain mercury. If the typical consumer started buying them, the typical consumer being lazy, the bulbs would probably end up in the standard trash, be broken, and release the mercury.
Whether or not this would be a dangerous amount I don't know. Hopefully the pros would outweigh the cons.

Anonymous said...

Why you can't save the environment, etbe

Anonymous said...

To point 4: the boiler temperature should be above 55C to keep bacteria away.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure turning of your standby tech stuff if it's not beeing used actually saves quite a lot. We did some measurements here and stereos, washing maschiene, computers etc. all used betwenn 3 and 10 Watts even when turned of. That's not that much but it's used 24/7 - so i am pretty sure it has as much impact as changing a lightbulb you use for 4 hours a day from 60 watt to 10 watts.

I'd also like to comment on what has been said under "Why you can't save the environment, etbe"...

> Why should I reduce my daily consumption with a few kilowatts, when in the same time...

I mainly do it for three reasons.
- One is i still produce way more co2 etc. than the average should be to keep the climate sane. The average person here in europe uses about 3 times more natural resources / polutes the planet three times more than what would be sustainable for everyone. I will start pointing my finger at others (i.e. USA, China) once my own impact is okay. Otherwise there will always be someone to point at.
- Another reason is we are not talking about a on / off situation here. It's not like there will be climate change anyway - we can't prevent it so let's do what ever... The impact will depend a lot on our behavoir - we won't completely stop it but we can reduce the impact a lot.
- Third reason for me is it's interesting, challanging and at times fun. I mainly ride my bike to university cause its two time faster than going by car. I mainly eat organic food because it's way more tasty. I hitchhike through europe because i don't want to fly - that's how i ended up in the atlantic learning to surf with a surf instructor i hitched with - a lot of my best travelling experiences i had during the hiking not where i actually wanted to go. And the best one is still to happen - i am going to sail to latin america next year instead of flying. A friend of mine will travel with the transsibirean railways and then through asia - to get all the way to australia without flying - that's definitly a once in a lifetime experience and it really helps you understand what it actually means to be able to travell all around the globe.